The Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor AC401includes a motion detecting sensor pad that sounds an alarm after 20 seconds if motion isn't detected, as well as a traditional audio monitor that offers best in class range, according to experts. The audio monitor can be used long after motion monitoring isn't needed, making the Angelcare monitor a good value compared to motion and audio monitors purchased separately.
Best in class range and excellent clarity. Most user reviews discuss the pros and sometimes cons of the AngelcareMovement and Sound Monitor AC401's motion monitor, but expert reviewers focus on the audio monitor. They find that the range between the monitor and the remote unit is as good as or better than the top traditional sound baby monitors. Angelcare states that the AC401 has an outdoor range of 820 feet, but independent testers find that it works at distances of up to 3,395 feet. Indoors, testers find that the monitor is still effective at a distance of 125 feet through eight walls. The sound clarity of the AC401 is marginally lower than other highly rated sound monitors, but it's still competitive with the best, and its eight channels help to insure an interference free performance.
Users say that the AC401's movement sensor (placed between the crib mattress and base) is effective as long as the baby is positioned directly on top of it. Older babies may roll away from the monitor and trigger false alarms. An upgraded model, the Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor AC401 Deluxe Plus (*Est. $140) includes two pads for better coverage. Some users find that ceiling fans and other ambient movements are detected by the monitor and may reduce its sensitivity to baby. The sensitivity of the motion sensor is adjustable; users say that helps with this issue.
Like other motion monitors, the AC401 motion alarm sounds in the baby's room, which can wake a sleeping baby in the event of a false alarm.
Time-consuming setup. According to testers, the Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor AC401 takes more time to set up than the average baby monitor. This is partly due to the fact that the AC401 has more features than typical monitors. That said, the majority of users say that once the AC401 is up and running, it is easy to use.
To ensure good monitoring from the motion sensor, there must be a stable surface between the crib mattress and the crib base. Some cribs will need a more solid crib base to enable the motion sensor to work properly, adding an extra step to the initial setup. The motion sensor has adjustable sensitivity, and parents may experience a few false alarms before they get this setting just right.
The Angelcare AC401 features several adjustable alert signals. Parents can choose sound, vibration or both, and the parent unit has signal lights. When using the motion sensor, parents can choose between silent mode or an audible ticking mode that indicates that baby is moving. They can also choose between silent mode with voice activation for sound monitoring or constant sound monitoring. Volume on the parent unit is adjustable.
Multiple features and flexible monitoring options. In addition to sound and motion monitoring, the Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor AC401 has a number of extras that parents like. The monitor is able to capture and transmit the temperature in a baby's room and sound an alarm if the temperature drops above or below the desired range. The basic AC401 comes with one parent unit, but the AC401 Deluxe (*Est. $140) includes two.
Unlike motion sensors that don't monitor for sound, the Angelcare AC401 offers a longer usable life for most families, who usually will stop using the motion monitor at between 6 and 12 months. Angelcare movement monitors come in a variety of other models, including movement monitoring only and movement, sound and video. Prices vary, depending upon features.
According to experts, movement monitors are not necessary to ensure the safety of a baby and have not been proven to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). One expert source gives all baby movement monitors an F rating, saying they prey on parent's fears and offer misleading claims. Experts say that if your baby suffers from severe sleep apnea or other conditions that place him or her at risk when sleeping, a medical grade monitor should be used. However, many parents whose babies do not require hospital grade monitoring say they find peace of mind with movement monitors. Angelcare is very clear in its instruction manual that the motion sensor is not a medical device and does not eliminate the risk of SIDS.
No complaints. The Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor AC401 comes with a standard one-year warranty. There are no complaints about Angelcare's customer service.
1. Baby Bargains
Review Credibility: Excellent The Baby Bargains book and website offer buyer's guides and ratings on a comprehensive selection of baby gear. The authors say they conduct hands-on testing and interviews with parents, manufacturers and retailers before reaching conclusions. Parents posting to Amazon.com say this is the best baby-gear book available, with plenty of current info and lots of attitude, including sections aimed at steering consumers away from unnecessary features. Baby Bargains offers a roundup of top audio and video based baby monitors and provides coverage of both specific baby monitors and overall brand performance, including Angelcare.
Review: Chapter 7, Monitors, Denise and Alan Fields, Version 9.1, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent The Angelcare Deluxe Movement and Sound Monitor AC401 receives the Baby Gear Lab's editor's choice award due its performance on their 'gauntlet' of tests, including range, clarity, ease of use, features, and battery life. Review editor RJ Spurrier says the Angelcare is their best sound monitor and they like the movement feature despite controversy over its efficacy. The only serious complaint they have with this monitor is a somewhat more challenging setup and learning curve. However, they say that once you have learned to use the monitor and its features, operation is smooth.
Review: Angelcare Deluxe Movement and Sound Review, RJ Spurrier, April 9, 2012
3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Review Credibility: Excellent The FDA lists baby monitors as one of the baby products that are marketed for SIDS prevention. The FDA states that it has never cleared or approved a baby product to prevent or reduce the risk of SIDS, because the agency has not found any scientific proof that baby products, including monitors, can prevent or reduce the risk of SIDS.
Review: Medical Devices -- Baby Products with SIDS Prevention Claims, FDA Advisory Board, May 30, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good The Angelcare Deluxe Movement and Sound AC401 Monitor is chosen as Best Multi-Tasking in Babble.com's 2012 roundup of best baby monitors. They say that this is a monitor that can do just about anything, and they were impressed with its performance both as a sound and movement monitor. They also note that the addition of audio capability makes it more versatile than other movement monitors.
Review: Babble Best 2012 -- Baby Monitors, Michelle Horton, Not dated
5. Babies 'R' Us
Review Credibility: Very Good The Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor AC401 receives an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on more than 630 reviews. Overall, the Angelcare is described as reliable with a good range, great features and a clear signal. Many parents praise the peace of mind it gives them. It gets isolated criticism for a poor battery life and false alarms. A few customers also complain about the confusing setup of the sensor pad.
Review: Angelcare Deluxe Movement Monitor, Contributors to BabiesRUs.com, As of December2012
Review Credibility: Very Good In more than 150 reviews, the AngelcareMovement and Sound Monitor AC401 receives an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. The majority of parents say it provides them with peace of mind, thanks to the reassurance the movement monitor gives them and the quality of the sound monitoring. Users say that the sound quality is very good, with few of the interference or crackling issues that come up with other monitors. Critics comment on the potential for false alarms, and some parents report difficulty getting the monitor set up.
Review: Angelcare Baby Movement and Sound Monitor, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good More than 65 reviewers give the Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor AC401 an overall rating of 89 out of a possible 100. Parents say the Angelcare monitor offers peace of mind with good clear sound and little interference. The Angelcare monitor is also described as durable and portable. There are a few complaints of false alarms and feedback noise.
Review: Angelcare Deluxe Movement Monitor, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good The Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor AC401 garners an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 based on more than 40 reviews. Parents who describe themselves as worriers say that the Angelcare offers peace of mind. There are reports of false alarms -- although parents who may have otherwise been checking on their infant every five minutes don't seem bothered by this. Most parents say that the monitor's features work well, although there are isolated reports of malfunctions.
Review: Angelcare Deluxe Movement & Sound Monitor, Contributors to Target, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Fair The Bestcovery.com reviewer is a mom of two who says she's dedicated hours of research into products geared toward children and parents. She does not indicate what methodology she has based her reviews on, but it seems to be research rather than real-world use. She says -- in direct conflict with statements from scientific research organizations -- that the Angelcare Baby Monitor can prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). She recommends the Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor AC401 for parents of premature and other vulnerable infants.
Review: Baby Monitors, Natasha Puryear, As of December 2012